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Ten Questions: #5

Larry Siems,
The Torture Report
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December 6, 2010

When the United States appeared before the U.N. to defend its human rights record, State Department legal advisor Harold Koh assured the world that the U.S. had “thoroughly investigated” alleged abuses of detainees in U.S. custody, and that “appropriate corrective action has been taken.” Koh also asserted that the Justice Department’s initial investigation into torture was actively looking into allegations of abuse by the CIA and other civilian agencies.

Drawing largely from material that has been covered in, we have come up with 10 follow-up questions for the U.S. about its compliance with domestic and international prohibitions against torture.

The International Committee of the Red Cross concluded in 2007 that the treatment of Abu Zubaydah at the CIA black site in Thailand and the use of many of the same “enhanced interrogation techniques” on 13 other “high value detainees” in secret CIA prisons included torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment, both prohibited under the Geneva Conventions and the 1984 UN Convention Against Torture. Zubaydah’s account to the Red Cross of his ordeal matches the August 1, 2002 Office of Legal Counsel memos authorizing his torture exactly, and videotapes of his interrogation showed that it proceeded precisely as directed and approved from Washington.

Is Special Prosecutor John Durham investigating the torture of Abu Zubaydah? Does his investigation reach both to the interrogation team, led by Dr. James Mitchell, who designed the so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques,” and to the senior Bush administration officials who approved and monitored Abu Zubaydah’s torture?

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